Who was Steve Dalachinsky?
I met Steve Dalachinsky in 1974, when he was selling books and records on Spring Street in SoHo. From him I bought rare books by underground poets and collagists, and later his own limited-edition books. He was a post-beat poet, a friend of Ted Joans, Ira Cohen, Jack Micheline and many others. His Renaissance-tinged attitude toward jazz, correspondence art, collage and performance with music earned him a seat in New York City’s boho-bohemian orchestra of troubadours.
He was a Jewish boychik from Brooklyn with an advanced sense of street humor. The list of his meteoric performances, videos, mail art-postcards, books and CDs is massive. No one in my lifetime gave himself to art and music every day of his life the way Steve did. An envious older poet once said to him, “I want to have what you have…” But that ineffable spirit of a true jazz-poet comes very seldom, and it is unrepeatable and unmarketable.
I will treasure our Exquisite Corpses — the surrealist collages on 8×10 paper we created together with Yuko, his wife, at Tompkins Square Library years ago. In Steve I lost a great collaborator. The Rebellious Dynamic Duo is no more, but jazz-poetry lives on and never dies.
A Final Note for Steve Dalachinsky — Poem by Valery Oisteanu
Tragedy after tragedy
Steve has gone like a soluble fish in the ocean
Melting in swirls of colors
Breaking in the rhythms of a trumpet
Dissolving in a glass of gin & tonic
Escaping the junkyards of trivia
Making echoes in the streets of SoHo
Cantankerous voice heckling my readings
Everyday someone leaves their apartment
And does not comes back ever again
Now he is wearing my unfinished haiku
Steve, part of a composition without a coda
In every garden, in every jazz joint
I am watching a video on Facebook
At his last reading he was riffing: In the end, in the end…
Over and over: In the end, in the end…
But what is the end? The end of space?
Is that what he meant? The tragic Kabuki
I refuse to believe that an eclipse
Is the final view of the Moon
The Rebel Duo lost its trio
Steve will rise again like a shadow ghost
Not in Long Island but here in the East Village
His poetry, his effervescent spirit
Will haunt us till the day we die